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Exercise tips for Parrots and Their Owners

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Birds, like people, must exercise regularly to achieve and maintain top physical condition. In the wild, birds are guaranteed to get plenty of exercise from climbing, flying, and foraging for food. In captivity, however, birds rely on their owners to provide for their every need -- and this includes the need for physical activity. Read on for some tips that will help you make sure that your pet bird is getting enough exercise to support good physical and mental health.
  • Kiss the cage goodbye. There is no way a pet bird can get adequate exercise if he or she stays inside a cage 24 hours a day. While bird experts (correctly) stress that daily out of cage time is essential to a bird's mental health, the need for physical exercise can only be met by providing adequate time and space for your bird to play out of the cage. Set aside a bare minimum of 2 hours per day to allow supervised, out of cage playtime for your pet. Provide a safe "birdproofed" area for your feathered friend to stretch and exercise in. Sticking to a daily play schedule normally shows quick improvements in pet birds' physical and mental conditions.

  • Use time wisely. Are there times that you find yourself bored at home with nothing to do? Most people experience boredom at one point or another, but there is no reason for a bird owner to ever have a dull moment! If you find yourself sitting on the sofa channel-surfing to kill time, bring your bird out to enjoy the show as well. While it's not exactly an exercise routine, any out of cage time provides a pet bird the opportunity to get some extra exercise in. Use toys or treats to help encourge your pet to be more active. You'd be surprised how quickly a bird can learn to play "fetch" if a beloved plaything or tasty snack is involved!

  • Build a parrot playground! Some bird owners use bird safe materials to construct elaborate "obstacle courses" for their feathered friends to play and exercise on. Try using bird-safe branches, small wooden ladders, ropes, or other safe items to build a personal fitness center for your pet. You will save money on manufactured bird products like pre-made gyms and playstands, and since you will be the architect, the sky is the limit as far as customization goes. As long as you remember to keep your bird's safety as your top priority, the sky is the limit!
How do you usually provide exercise for your pet bird? Share your tips by emailing me at birds@aboutguide.com with the subject "Exercise".
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